347 Schaeffer Hall
Spring 2023 Office Hours
Tue & Th: 4:45-6:15
Dept of Political Science
341 Schaeffer Hall
20 E. Washington Street
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
Posted Fall 2023 book info on Courses page
Posted evaluations for Fall 2022 courses
Posted 15 papers in Warren Court Agenda Setting series
Posted updated Prelaw FAQ for UI students
Published updated and expanded edition of Prelaw Advisor in paperback and for Kindle readers
New book, Riding the Caucus Rollercoaster 2020, published in paperback and for Kindle readers.
New book, Supreme Court Agenda Setting: The Vinson Court, published for Kindle devices and computers with Kindle reader.
(some paid links, here and elsewhere)
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This page contains comments I have received from former students (usually via email). More recent comments are at the top. Any comments by me are in italics following the comment.
I took four of your courses in my last year at Iowa, and they were invaluable for my law school career. Within the first week of starting here at ______ Law School, I realized just how much of an edge your courses gave me over my peers. Really, it was apparent from one of the first days of orientation when we read Fraser and I got to show off a little by remembering some of the speech.
Moreover, at the beginning of the year, when the learning curve is most steep, I did not have to waste time learning the names of reporters or, and this was a huge advantage, learning how to read/brief a case. Thanks to your introduction to the Socratic method, I was not scared to be called on in class. I was able to respond under pressure and stay engaged with the discussion. Thanks in no small part to the knowledge gained from Research in Judicial Politics, I got my first law school A today (in Legal Research). Hopefully there is more to come. Additionally, my experience writing papers for your courses helped greatly with my Legal Writing class (A's on the first two papers, still waiting for the final). Finally, next semester I will be in Constitutional Law, and I know my experience in your class will come in handy.
As an aside, I am taking the GMAT tomorrow so I can pursue a JD/MBA joint degree. You should consider adding this test to your list of reasons to study math.
In sum, I just wanted to write this (I have been meaning to do this sooner) to tell you how grateful I am to have taken your courses and for the preparation they gave me for law school. I hope your school-year is going well!
This was from a student starting his second semester of law school. As he notes, he was in four courses of mine so I'm posting this for all four.
Hi Professor Hagle,
Just another quick note from law school. We are spending a whole class today in my legal writing class talking about basic case citations. Even a semester into law school, people don't know what "P.2d" means in a citation. Luckily I was not among them. I know I've sent a few e-mails in the past thanking you for prepping me for law school, but I'm not sure I told you how much I appreciate the "little things" that I learned in your class. Being familiar with terms, citations, etc. from the beginning of law school has helped a tremendous amount. And a note to pass on to students: As I sit here in legal writing, I can "take the day off" because we're going over things I learned in undergrad. There are great benefits from taking your classes, in addition to the material we learned.
This was another note from the student who had sent the long one below. I'll also post this one in a couple of places.
Hi Professor Hagle,
I wrote to you during my first week of the semester and told you how your classes had given me a great head start in law school. After finishing the semester, I can honestly say that "Thank You" doesn't go far enough to show my appreciation for the things you do for future law students.
In my writing class, I felt (and the professor indicated) that my writing was right where it needed to be. More specifically, I was writing in concise terms and saying exactly what I needed to say without going any further. There were times in your classes where I thought, "Okay he's going a little overboard here" when you would talk to us about writing. I couldn't have been more wrong. If my professor wanted five pages, he wanted five pages loaded with material, and no fluff whatsoever. Exactly how you said it would be, of course!
Another part of the writing course (and other courses) that I thought you gave me a leg up in has to do with the length requirement. In my writing course, I could have written 15-20 good pages on each paper. Our papers were limited to 10 pages. In another course, our essay exam was subject to a strict length requirement. Talk about pressure! I spotted 5 issues on the exam that I couldn't even mention on the exam because of this length requirement. I know you take a bit of grief for your "10 pages maximum", no page range, etc. Once again, it's spot on with how law school is, and this was great preparation.
Although I never used the "drop first test score" option in your class, basing the majority of a student's grade on one exam is exactly how it is in law school. For my other three classes (besides writing), our entire grade was based on one three-hour exam per class. So, having an exam worth 70% of the grade really isn't that bad!
The next comment I have is in regards to feedback in your courses. I was one who strongly objected (although not to you) to the fact that you did not give a "class average" or any idea of how others in the class did on tests. Also, I did not like that you waited until the last day of the course to return papers. In the research class, I did not like that we had no certain grade, but only an idea of our progress. But, in my first semester of law school, I got absolutely NO feedback on how I was doing in the course, except for my first paper grade in my writing course. This is a very unsettling feeling, and although you do give some grades throughout the semester, your courses were the closest I came to this feeling during undergrad. In my opinion, the lack of feedback throughout the semester is by far the most difficult part of law school. Trying to gauge how you're doing in the course is impossible, and it can drive you crazy at times.
Here's one that your course does NOT do well. In all of my courses, we had set assignments each day! Okay, so maybe I'm still slightly bitter that on the day I was assigned to speak in Con Law I prepared 4 or 5 extra cases. But, I just had to throw that in there!
The last comment is much more general. The reading, the writing, the classroom atmosphere, etc. that you provide are great preparation for law school. Attention to detail is key, taking good notes is key, and being prepared for class on a daily basis is crucial. The reading is dense, I had to read things many times to understand it, and there is a ton of reading every night. Professors don't use powerpoint in law school, so taking notes without powerpoint is a great skill to learn.
Okay one more comment, sorry! I had some multiple choice tests during finals. I would say your exams were very representative of what I saw in law school. I'm sure every student dislikes the fact that your exams are very detail oriented, and that one word can completely change the answer. Well, if they're going to law school, they should get used to it.
Sorry for the lengthy e-mail, but I really felt that I needed to tell you how much of an advantage I felt that I had in my first semester of law school because of your classes. I enjoyed your classes a lot, and I appreciated your teaching style at the time. But, now more than ever, I feel lucky to have had a professor who is so committed to preparing students for law school. Thank you so much, happy holidays!
This student sent me some prior comments when he started his first semester of law school. These apply to several of the courses he took with me as an undergrad that I'm going to post them to the comments for each course.
Just wanted to send a quick note to tell you that on day 3 of law school at [deleted], we were assigned to find case information from several federal and state reporters in the law library. It was a big confidence boost to be able to breeze right through those assignments! Thank you Judicial Research! At the moment, my civil procedure class is diving into types of jurisdiction talking about subject matter, diversity, amounts in controversy, etc. . . It is nice to have some familiarity with all of that, too! Thank you Judicial Process! I have my notes from both of your classes I took, and have looked at them several times in the last week. I only wish I would have been able to take Con Law with you! :)
Dear Prof. Hagle,
I just wanted to thank you for writing my recommendation letter and for helping me start a very exciting educational and professional
course. I was accepted, and am now attending, the University of Iowa College of Law. ... . It has so far been an amazing and challenging experience, and I know that I would not be
here if it weren't for you.
I really feel like your classes gave me a good feel and foundation for studying law at this level. I had no goals or ideas about applying to or aiming for law school until I started taking your pre-law track courses in undergrad. Your Judicial Process course gave me an understanding for how and why the judiciary acts and reacts the way that they do. I've utilized this understanding in reading many of cases that make up the meat of my education now. Also, your Research in Judicial Politics course has made my first semester legal writing and research course far more comfortable (I definitely knew my way around the Boyd Library reporters :-) )
Again thank you so much!